As provinces and countries continue to ease lockdown restrictions, many Canadians contemplating a summer trip are wondering what a potential holiday amid the pandemic could look like.
While most provinces have opened their borders for travel within Canada, some popular international destinations are also beginning to ease their restrictions in a move to welcome back tourists. However, not everywhere is open, and travellers must follow certain rules.
Here’s what you need to know now if you are considering taking a trip in Canada or abroad.
TRAVEL WITHIN CANADA
With most international travel only recently starting to reopen, some Canadians are instead taking the chance to explore their own backyard.
While restrictions vary across the provinces and territories, most of the country is open for domestic tourism. However, provincial authorities have cautioned that rules around domestic travel are subject to change.
Canadians can currently travel to Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. without having to self-isolate for 14 days. Those looking to visit Manitoba and Nova Scotia may be required to self-isolate, depending on which part of the country they are travelling from.
Additionally, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have restricted all non-essential travel into and out of northern communities in the provinces.
In Atlantic Canada, a “bubble” travel system allows residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to move freely between the four provinces without having to self-isolate.
If all goes well, Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball has suggested that restrictions on out-of-region travellers may be further relaxed in the province. However, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said last week that he doubted that the province would be looking “beyond the Atlantic bubble any time soon.”
Most travellers from outside of Atlantic Canada are not yet permitted to visit P.E.I. or New Brunswick, but those who own cottages in either province are allowed in provided they self-isolate for 14 days.
Nunavut and the Northwest Territories remain off-limits to travellers from all provinces, except residents of Churchill, Man., who are permitted to enter Nunavut. The two territories have established a travel bubble and its residents can visit one another without self-isolating, as long as they haven’t left their territory in the two weeks prior to their trip.
Residents of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and B.C. are also allowed to enter Yukon without quarantining.
TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF CANADA
As other countries start to open their borders, the Canadian government’s advisory against all non-essential international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic remains in effect until further notice.
Canadians can still travel abroad, since the government’s advisory is not an order, however the federal government cautions that they do so at their own risk.
Canadians are still limited on where they can travel to. Regions that have opened their borders to Canadians include European Union countries such as Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Germany, in addition to Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, among others.
The Bahamas, Bermuda and Aruba are also open to Canadian travellers, but require them to take a COVID-19 test and submit the result upon arrival. Only those with negative results will be allowed in.
While flying to another country is an option, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21. The ban on discretionary travel was first introduced in March and has been extended each month since.
Regardless of what country they visit, Canadians are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return home.
Additionally, Canadians must follow new rules when flying that include wearing face masks when in transit or at the airport, and having their temperature checked before boarding.
WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?
With the federal government’s travel advisory likely to be in effect for a while, so will limits on travel insurance.
Joan Weir, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association’s director of health and disability policy, told CTVNews.ca that travel insurance is available through some companies but does not cover trip disruptions related to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is now a known issue so it won’t be in the coverage on policies going forward,” Weir said in a phone interview on Monday. “If you’re an essential traveller, you’ll be covered but if you are traveling for recreation, you probably won’t find any insurance that you could purchase.”
Weir explained that if your flight is cancelled due to the pandemic or you contract the novel coronavirus while abroad, none of those costs would be covered by the insurance company.
“Without having trouble medical insurance, if you are at a destination and you fall ill, it could cost a lot of money to get treatments for whatever it is that you fall ill with,” Weir said, adding that travelling without insurance is “always a risk.”
Weir also said travellers should be prepared to return to Canada quickly should the Government of Canada raise the travel advisory level amid the pandemic. This may also result in additional costs to travellers.
“If travel coverage isn’t available, then maybe you shouldn’t be travelling right now,” she said.
CONCERNS AROUND CLEANLINESS
While Canadians can travel to some areas within and outside of the country, some people may still not be ready to get on an airplane.
However, Toronto-based travel consultant Barry Choi said “there has never been a cleaner time” to fly than right now.
“With an airplane, you’re in closer contact with people. A lot of airlines have stopped keeping that middle seat empty, so there’s a risk. But airlines do require every passenger to wear masks, there’s minimal contact with the flight staff, you have your temperature checked before you depart so there are safety measures in place,” Choi said in a phone interview on Monday.
Choi explained that airplanes are designed to filter the air better than other systems to ensure containments — not just dust or bacteria, but moisture and any other particles that could potentially harm the passengers or the crew — are removed.
“It’s really up to the traveller to decide if they’re comfortable with those steps,” he said.
Choi, who travelled in March, said he had never been on a cleaner plane before with passengers and staff taking extra precautions to ensure the aircraft was disinfected.
“Most people wiped down the armrest, the serving tray, the window and I know the airlines have put in extra steps to make sure their planes are clean like no food service and even spraying disinfectant,” Choi said.
“I do think there’s never been a cleaner time to get on a plane but again, it really comes down to how comfortable you are with that,” he added.
Despite there being enhance cleaning measures on airplanes, Canadians could contract the virus on their flight without knowing it.
A spokesperson from the Public Health Agency of Canada told CTVNews.ca on Monday that the federal government will not notify Canadians after receiving post flight information on a passenger who turns out to have been infected.
The federal government will notify provincial health authorities and list the affected flights on the Government of Canada’s website in the “locations where you may have been exposed to COVID-19” section.
It is then up to each province to decide on how to conduct appropriate contact tracing. However, some provinces are not contacting potentially infected passengers either.
According to the BCCDC website, British Columbia no longer directly contacts passengers from international or domestic flights “who were seated near a confirmed case during the flight. Instead, that information is posted online.”
This means it is up to Canadians to do their due diligence before and after a trip to protect themselves while travelling amid the pandemic.
“It all depends on how comfortable you are. The Government of Canada is recommending essential travel only. So if you’re thinking about taking a vacation that is recreational, it might not be the best idea given the risks,” Choi said.
Albanian man extradited to Canada in connection with deadly 2014 crash in Richmond, B.C. – CBC.ca
Richmond RCMP have announced the successful extradition of an Albanian man who left Canada in 2014 shortly after being involved in a crash that claimed the life of a 36-year-old cyclist.
In a statement, RCMP wrote that on the afternoon of July 30, 2014, 33-year-old Erjon Kashari was driving a red Pontiac Aztek northbound, approaching the intersection of Russ Baker Way and Gilbert Road.
The statement said the vehicle was “approaching a red light at the intersection, when it suddenly veered right, drove over a concrete island at the intersection and struck a cyclist, before coming to rest in the grass off-road.”
The crash killed cyclist Christy Mahy of Richmond, who died in hospital.
Kashari was in Canada on a work permit at the time but left shortly afterwards. RCMP said charges were laid and a warrant was issued for his arrest in June 2018.
In July 2019, Kashari was taken into custody by Albanian police and held for extradition. The Richmond RCMP’s General Investigation Section then began the process to bring Kashari back to Canada to stand trial.
On Aug. 11, 2020, Richmond investigators travelled to Albania where Kashari was transferred to their custody and escorted back to Canada. He remains in custody facing one count of criminal negligence causing death.
Police say Interpol, Albanian authorities, the Department of Justice, the International Assistance Group, the Canada Border Services Agency, and RCMP liaison officers in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Albania all assisted with the successful extradition.
Rola Dagher, president of Cisco Systems Canada, calls on Canadians to help rebuild Beirut – CBC.ca
When Rola Dagher first heard about the blast that rocked Beirut last week, she couldn’t move.
“Shocked, heartbroken, devastated and I froze. I don’t think I got out of my chair for four hours,” Dagher told CBC Toronto News at 6 host Dwight Drummond in an interview that aired on Wednesday.
Her nephew, a volunteer firefighter, was missing and her sister told her, crying, that she didn’t know if he was alive or not. After five hours and many phone calls, Dagher said her sister finally found out he had survived.
The blast itself was unreal, she said.
“It was like watching a movie. We couldn’t believe that it was real. I couldn’t stop crying. But at the same time, I was absolutely determined to find my nephew and to make sure that everyone is safe first,” she said.
Dagher, a Lebanese Canadian businesswoman who now lives in Toronto, said she knew she had to help. Thirty-one years ago, she left Lebanon, where she was born. She is now president of Cisco Systems Canada.
She said called about 10 Lebanese-Canadian leaders she knew and convinced them they had to give back to the community.
“I said, ‘We can’t be sitting here and just watching the news.’ I said: ‘We’re blessed for being in a country like Canada that is safe but it’s our job and our duty to give back to our community,'” she said.
‘Life is an opportunity for us to make the best of it’
“And I said: ‘We need to start the conversation and we need to start something and we need to lobby the government and we need to go after every single Lebanese person in Canada to start a movement.'”
Those calls led to the formation of the Lebanese Canadian Coalition that has pledged to raise $2.5 million for relief efforts in Beirut. It was up and running in three days.
Watch Rola Dagher talk to Dwight Drummond about the blast that rocked Beirut and the movement she has helped to start:
The massive explosion of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate in Beirut’s port on Aug. 4 killed at least 171 people, injured about 6,000 others and caused widespread damage.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government has agreed to match all donations made by Canadians to specific humanitarian organizations between the dates of Aug. 4 and Aug. 24, up to a maximum of $5 million.
Now, Dagher says, the fundraising begins.
“If every Canadian donates a dollar, we can make a difference,” she says.
“We definitely need more support because what Lebanon is going through right now, it’s surreal. It’s going to take Lebanon a long time to rebuild.”
Dagher acknowledged to Drummond that she is making a name for herself as a business leader who has been outspoken on such subjects as immigration and mental health.
Last year, she was named one of the 2019 WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant winners 2019 and the 2019 Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Woman of the Year.
“My father taught me something that I would never forget: ‘Life owes you nothing. Life is an opportunity for us to make the best of it.’ And I learned everything that I know. I earned it because I worked hard. And the only way I could be blessed is to return it,” she says.
In an interview with Canadian Immigrant magazine this year, Dagher was asked to share her main piece of advice for people new to Canada. She said: “Learn it, earn it and return it.”
Coronavirus deaths top 9,000 in Canada – National | Globalnews.ca – Global News
The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 9,000 people in Canada since the virus was first confirmed in the country in late January.
The sobering milestone was reached on Aug. 12, after Quebec reported 12 more deaths attributed to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
To date, there have been a total of 120,554 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,004 deaths across the country. Just over 107,000 people infected with the virus — or approximately 89 per cent of all cases — have recovered.
Based on data from the most recent seven days, an average of 443 new coronavirus cases have been reported daily across the country, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“Presently, our efforts indicate that we are keeping COVID-19 spread under manageable control — but the virus is still circulating in Canada and we must not let down our guard,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Fortunately, the number of new deaths reported daily has remained low following a steep decline from the peak in early May when close to 200 deaths were reported daily. Fewer than 10 deaths have been reported per day on average over the last four weeks.”
Quebec continues to be the province with the largest caseload and highest death toll, reporting a total of 60,813 cases and 5,709 deaths to date. Eleven of the 12 new deaths recorded in that province occurred earlier in the year but were only reported Wednesday.
Ontario — Canada’s most populous province — follows, with a total of 40,289 reported cases and 2,787 deaths.
Health officials in Ontario said 95 new cases of the novel coronavirus were identified on Wednesday, and said one more death related to the virus had occurred.
The large majority of confirmed cases in both Ontario and Quebec have recovered, according to public health data.
Nunavut, meanwhile, continues to be the only province or territory without a single confirmed case of the virus.
Of the western provinces, Alberta has the largest outbreak, reporting a total of 11,772 cases and 216 deaths to date. British Columbia has reported 4,068 cases and 195 deaths so far.
In Saskatchewan five new cases of the virus were reported on Wednesday, bringing the province’s total to 1,484. So far 20 have died.
Manitoba saw new 16 new cases of the virus. Since the pandemic began the province has seen 578 infections and 8 deaths.
Group testing key to early coronavirus detection in Saskatchewan schools, biochemist says
The Yukon and the Northwest Territories have reported 15 and five cases, respectively; neither territory has reported a single death attributed to COVID-19.
To the east, there have been 1,071 cases and 64 deaths in Nova Scotia. New Brunswick has reported 178 cases and two fatalities.
Prince Edward Island has reported the lowest number of cases and deaths in Atlantic Canada with 36 cases and no fatalities. Newfound and Labrador has confirmed 268 COVID-19 cases and three deaths.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in China at the end of December 2019. The outbreak of the virus was declared a global pandemic a few months later, on Mar. 11, 2020.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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